I can go months without getting good kingfisher sightings, even in areas noted for their presence they sometimes become quite secretive and difficult to find. This time of the year with little or no foliage on trees and bushes is one of the best to try to see them.
Rodley Nature Reserve near Leeds is a good place to see them, hides are located near the ponds the kingfishers are likely to use and some lovely perches have been placed so that watchers and photographers can see them clearly.
On previous visits we have had several sightings but no real close ones, a couple of weeks ago we had a real treat and an extended and detailed view.
I spotted one in a distant tree and we watched it carefully hoping it would fly in nearer the hide, maybe the finger crossing worked as this little female flew into some reeds not too far away.
A group of oystercatchers flew past...
I had a mission planned to spend some time with the dippers in Wharfedale, they are very vocal at this time of the year and I love to watch them "dipping" and emerging with their favourite caddis flies.
Finding a good spot on the riverbank I settled in for a patient vigil, knowledge from previous visits is vital because you can learn where they are likely to be and let them fly in to where you are rather than trying to approach when you see them and thereby causing disturbance.
It was not too long before I had a dipper just a few yards away...
I was talking to a couple of fellow wildlife lovers when I spotted movement in the water, too much disturbance for any of the birds around here made my instinct levels rise. Watching through the binoculars I watched in amazement as a female otter with three youngsters hunted and played in the water, occasionally leaving the water on the far bank.
For me, I just feel fortunate that I see such beautiful creatures as kingfishers and otters. If I were to divide the hours spent or miles walked by the successful days I would not like to think how low the percentage would be, but like mountaineers who wish to see inversions or brocken spectres you can increase your chances with a little knowledge and a lot of hard work!
Many thanks to all who read, don't forget that if you do comment they come to me first for moderation.